How To Choose Your Wedding Party

laurenfisher

 

 

                                                                             Photography: Lauren Fisher

 

At the start of your journey, begin to consider who you will ask to be a part of your wedding party!

Traditionally, it is recommended to have at least 1 member on each side per 50 guests. Many modern couples are creating their own rules in terms of how many members to have in their wedding party.

Before you begin asking potential wedding party members to take on a role in your day, first consider the responsibilities included:

The Who:

  • The Bridal Party: The Maid of Honor, Matron of Honor, Bridesmaids, Junior Bridesmaids
  • The Groomsmen: The Best Man, The Groomsmen, Junior Groomsmen
  • The Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
  • The Parents: Of The Bride and Groom
  • The Ushers: Typically one for every 50 guests

Roles:

The Bride & Groom:

  • Set and determine the budget
  • Determine the wedding style and vision
  • Select the wedding date
  • Select the wedding venue
  • Determine the wedding vendors
  • Determine the wedding decor
  • Determine the wedding attire
  • Create the wedding registry
  • Determine the honeymoon destination
  • Select the designated number of wedding guests
  • Select the wedding party

Parents:

  • Host the engagement party
  • Select a designated number distributed by the couple towards the guest list
  • Determine the financial percentage to contribute
  • Walk down the processional and recessional.

The Maid of Honor / Matron of Honor / Best Man:

  • Coordinate wedding activities such as the bridal shower and bachelorette party
  • Attend fittings
  • Assists bride and groom with errands and tasks
  • Helps on the day of with attire, holding the bouquet, signing the license, toasting
  • Point person for the rest of the wedding party

Bridesmaids / Groomsmen:

  • Assists maid of honor and bride with wedding tasks
  • Helps to plan the wedding shower and bachelorette party
  • Pays for own wedding day attire
  • Pays for lodging, transportation, and beauty
  • Walks in processional and recessional. The Maid and Matron of Honor typically walk down after all bridesmaids have made it to the alter, and the Best Man after all groomsmen have made it to the alter
  • Keeps the wedding party festive
  • Keeps bride and groom calm

Junior Bridesmaid / Groomsmen:

  • Typically between the ages of 9-13, may also be up to age 16
  • Does not attend bachelorette or bachelor party
  • Not financially responsible for same tasks as bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Parents pay for wedding day attire

The Flower Girl / Ring Bearer:

  • Typically age 3 and up to age 8 but can vary.
  • The Flower Girl walks down the processional just before the bride and after the bridesmaids
  • The Ring Bearer walks down the processional typically just after or along with the flower girls
  • Parents pay for wedding day attire

neilboydphotography

 

                                                                                     Photography: Neil Boyd

 

How To Choose Your Wedding Party:

Now that you know the roles of the wedding party, consider these questions to consider when selecting:

  • How Long You’ve Been Friends:

The first question that you should consider when selecting your wedding party is the length of time that you have been friends. You may decide to set rules such as friends that have been in your life for at least 2 years or that you are confident will still be in your life 5, 10, even 15 years down the line.  If you are not confident that your relationship will be the same a few years down the line, consider if there are other roles they can take on such as hosts. 

  • How Supportive They Are of Your Union:

Are you likely to call the possible wedding party member for support or even to spend time at gatherings with family and friends? Consider how likely the wedding party member will be in terms of supporting not only your wedding planning but your relationship well after the big day.

  • Are They Wedding Party Material? 

What can they assist with? How supportive would they be in terms of lending a hand? Are they likely to be a team player and bring a good time or potential drama? Consider if being a part of the big day is possible due their current situation. If changing careers, expecting, finishing a degree, in between work or even planning their own big day, consider if they are likely to handle the responsibility. Before counting out, be sure to discuss first as they may make a point to take part regardless of their own obligations. 

  • How Will They Mesh? 

If wedding party members don’t know each other, consider having a small gathering prior to inviting your party to make note of how the potential members interact. While they may forge a friendship during the process, consider if any members have a history of conflict or drama before extending an invite. 

  • What Is The Relation?

Work with your fiance to consider any rules to follow when selecting members. You may decide to stick with family members only or split between family and friends. You may notice that you’ve mutually considered inviting wedding party members that hold similar relationships, such as primarily family or a mix of family and closest friends, making it easier to set clear rules. 

  • Would Not Inviting Cause Tension?

Determine if not being able to ask everyone within a large group of friends would create tension. You may find that attempting to include everyone you would like to have in your wedding party results in exceeding your goal wedding party size. Avoid by considering if there are any other roles they can play such as serving as an usher, host, or even giving a special reading during the ceremony.

  • Has It Been A Solid Friendship?

Unfortunately, rocky friendships can happen to the best of us. If you have a potential wedding party member that has been an up and down friendship, consider how you see the friendship years to come. If you aren’t confident things will remain solid for the long haul, consider asking to host or finding another role for the day.

  • How Many Wedding Party Members Can You Afford To Invite?

Wedding party members are responsible for their own expenses, such as for their attire, airfare, and lodging. While the wedding party covers most of their own expenses, the couple will still take on costs for the wedding party such as flowers, transportation to the venue and even gifts for playing a role in their day. For budget-conscious weddings, consider keeping small wedding party of 1-3 members on each side. For formal weddings with a more flexible budget, consider having 6-10 members on each side.

Getting Started Series: The 20 Biggest Regrets Every Bride Wants You To Know!

 

If there is one thing you don’t get after your big day, it’s a do-over. While we stand by the belief that as long as you ended your day married to your dream guy then it was an absolutely perfect day, we understand the hope that it will be everything you imagined that it would be.

Take advantage of learning the top 20 regrets past brides wish they could do over as you plan your big day:

 

  • Bride Regret: Not hiring a wedding planner or day of coordinator:

Brides wished there was a professional on hand to take charge when unexpected issues arise as well as to properly plan and execute their vision.

HOW TO AVOID:

A popular and risky alternative to hiring a pro to delegate the day is to hand off to a friend or family member. While this certainly can be an excellent choice if that family or friend has experience in planning large-scale events, consider the potential that an emergency occurs that requires the fast thinking of a trained professional. Think back to the financial investment made towards your big day. The last thing you want is to not have full confidence your day will be executed to perfection. While a hiccup or two can occur with even the most seasoned wedding professional, they will know how to quickly resolve due to their wealth of experience. If a full on wedding planner is out of budget then consider a day of coordinator to take on key details such as your wedding timeline and day of execution at a fraction of the cost of a full planner.

 

  • Bride Regret: Letting others input influence decisions over their own:

Brides regretted attempting to make everyone else happy and putting what they really wanted aside to please everyone else. In the end, they looked back and felt aspects of the day didn’t fit their style or vision.

HOW TO AVOID:

A trick to hold onto what matters most while incorporating the suggestions and advice of others is to keep your list of wedding must-haves secret and only ask for input from details at the bottom of your list. If you aren’t too excited about selecting the cake, ask if a family member that is insistent on providing input if they can join you for cake tasting to help you narrow down your dream cake. They don’t have to know that cakes are on the bottom of your list of wedding details and will be happy to have their opinion count. If they attempt to inject their input on any items from the top of your must-have list, explain that you would like to make the final decision. Mention that there are a few details on your list that you are most excited about selecting but you certainly have a lot of other details their help could be utilized for.

 

  • Bride Regret: A DJ that didn’t fit their crowd:

Brides regretted not working with a DJ that could keep guests entertained with music that fit the crowd, as well as hiring a DJ with a style that simply wasn’t the best fit.

HOW TO AVOID:

Be sure to ask the DJ for audio from past weddings. Provide your DJ with a playlist of song choices that you think paints the picture for the style of music your guests will enjoy. Ask if they have a playlist or audio from a past wedding that featured similar music to ensure their style of mixing will fit your crowd.

 

  • Bride Regret:  Skimming on decor:

Brides regretted skimming on decor, especially if left with minimal or skimpy centerpieces that were underwhelming.

HOW TO AVOID:

Prior to your wedding day, have your florist provide a mock table layout to ensure that you are satisfied with the outcome in order to edit as needed. If your florist is unable to recreate, ask to see a portfolio of past work to ensure that you can point out arrangements that fit your style and budget.

 

  • Bride Regret:  Skimming on food:

Brides regretted having sub-par food choices or a lack food available. 

HOW TO AVOID:

Ask if the same chef used during menu tastings will also be the chef catering your wedding day. Bring along someone else for tastings to get a second opinion on food choices and seasonings.   If your budget is tight and you are concerned with the amount of food you can supply, ask your caterer if changing your serving style or menu options can possibly increase the amount of food available without increasing in price.

 

  • Bride Regret:  Their gown:

Brides looked back and wished that they went with another gown option, or one that better fit their personality.

HOW TO AVOID:

Be sure to take lots of captures in your gown before saying yes to the dress. Ask if you can sleep on it to ensure that you are completely happy with your choice if not 100% certain your gown is the one.

 

  • Bride Regret: Not hiring a more qualified photographer:

This is across the board the #1 bridal regret. Brides regretted not investing in a more experienced photographer due to poor quality images or having key moments missed. 

HOW TO AVOID:

Consider that of all the wedding details that you will invest in, your photos will be the one lasting memory. Avoid skimming by remembering that your photos will last a lifetime! If photographers that you would love to work with are out of budget, reach out to ask if they could recommend photographers with a similar style that are starting out. Mention that you would love to work with them but they are unfortunately out of budget. They may even suggest ways that bring their rate down such as cutting a photo-book and prints from your packaging.

 

  • Bride Regret:  Forgetting the meaning of the day:

Brides regretted being so focused on planning that they forgot to simply enjoy the process and the fact they are marrying the love of their life!

HOW TO AVOID:

Make a point to spend time attending wedding shows for a little pre-wedding fun! Be sure to have regular date nights with your fiancé for non-wedding related time together to enjoy time together that isn’t related to planning.  

 

  • Bride Regret:  Too much distance between the ceremony and reception:

Brides regretted not booking the ceremony and reception spaces together due to the time required to commute between spaces.

HOW TO AVOID:

Seek one stop shop venue spaces where the ceremony and reception spaces are shared! If you are unable to find shared spaces, attempt to seek ceremony and venue spaces within a short distance of one another.

 

  • Bride Regret:  Lack of personality incorporated into the day:

Brides regretted that their day lacked features that represented the bride and groom’s personality and style.

HOW TO AVOID:

Avoid the urge to recreate ideas seen at other weddings by adding your own spin. Incorporate favorite colors, flowers and even favorite things to do as a couple to add your own take on wedding ideas. Use ideas as inspiration only and avoid full recreation without making any changes.

 

  • Bride Regret:  Inviting guests out of guilt:

Brides regretted inviting guests out of guilt, especially if the guest was a no show, did not actively participate in the wedding day or have not spoken to the couple post wedding. Brides wished that they instead focused on inviting close friends and family only.

HOW TO AVOID:

Create and stick with rules when it comes to inviting guests. Start with guests that you can’t imagine not having at your big day. Ask yourself when inviting guests if you are likely to have the same relationship in 2 years? 3 years? 5 years? If you aren’t so certain, consider holding off on the invite until you are confident in your decision to include in your day.

  

  • Bride Regret:  Not planning to go over budget:

Brides regretted either not having a budget, or not planning to exceed their budget. They found that having a cushion could have prevented them from a last minute scramble to accumulate funds for extra expenses.

HOW TO AVOID:

Set a cushion to your wedding budget for the event of an emergency. A safe cushion is to set aside an additional 5% to your budget. For instance, if your budget is $20,000, we recommend that you budget for an additional $1,000 for any emergencies or unexpected purchases.   

  

  • Bride Regret: Members of their wedding party:

Brides regretted choosing wedding party members for the wrong reasons. Looking back, they would have had smaller parties or only longtime friends and family.

HOW TO AVOID:

Before inviting to take part in the wedding, consider if you would still present the opportunity in one year, three years or even 5 years. If you are not fully confident they would still make the cut, consider if there are others roles they can take on. 

 

  • Bride Regret:  Not locking in the venue first:

Brides regretted not booking the venue first after realizing that top choices were booked well in advance or how many important details couldn’t be finalized until the venue was selected.

HOW TO AVOID:

Make searching for the venue the first wedding task that you research and lock in. Your venue will determine your wedding date, guest count size, and account for almost half of your wedding budget. Focus on the venue space first before moving onto additional tasks on your wedding checklist. 

 

  • Bride Regret: Not properly scheduling the day of:

Brides regretted not having a schedule for the wedding day or a designating a point person to handle emergencies.  

HOW TO AVOID:

Your wedding day is one of the largest events, if not the largest event, that you will plan. Unless you have experience in event planning or wedding planning, enlist the help of a professional, trusted family member or friend with experience to successfully execute your day.  Be sure to also consider emergencies to plan for backups based on the location of your day. For instance, if your wedding will take part outdoors, be sure to have a backup plan in place in the event of inclement weather. 

 

 

  • Bride Regret:  Not having a save the date announcement:

Brides regretted not giving advance notice of their wedding prior to the formal invitation to ensure that guests schedules were free in advance.

HOW TO AVOID:

Be sure to provide a save the date to guests at least 6-8 months prior to the big day if having a destination wedding or 4-6 months in advance if having a local wedding to ensure the day is reserved.

 

 

  • Bride Regret:  Hiring a friend to avoid going with a professional:

Brides regretted hiring a friend with little experience in weddings over a wedding professional. Learned the hard way that professional skills do not fully translate to the demands of a wedding. 

HOW TO AVOID:

There is nothing wrong with giving a friend starting out in the wedding industry a chance for your day, but we strongly advise against simply seeking to hire a friend to avoid having to pay for the work of a professional if they have little background in weddings. Just because a friend is familiar with using a camera or has set decorated a few birthday parties in the past does not mean they are the right choice to take on a full-scale event like a wedding.  One of the many benefits of hiring a wedding professional is that they are familiar with understanding what to avoid, prepare for and prevent to execute in a way that a non-wedding professional may be unfamiliar with. 

 

  • Bride Regret: Their hair or makeup:

Brides regretted trying out a new look on their wedding day that they didn’t test out in advance or going with a trendy style opposed to a look that stands the test of time.

HOW TO AVOID:

If you are known to frequently change up your look or try new styles, going with a fun look for your wedding would be true to what guests would expect and even look forward to. If you are naturally more classic, traditional or have a signature style, your wedding may not be the time to veer towards a new look.  We recommend going with a natural, timeless look or style that stands the test of time. Adding small touches that are current trends may not be as regrettable as an incredibly trendy look that may look dated soon after your wedding.  Be sure to have a trial to test out your make-up and hair to ensure that you are happy with the outcome and have plenty of time to change if needed.

 

 

  • Bride Regret:  Hiring the most expensive vendor:

Regretted assuming that cost translates to the value of work. 

HOW TO AVOID:

Expensive doesn’t always translate to the best of the best. Be sure to spend time reading reviews and viewing past work of vendors before locking them in. Don’t be afraid to ask your vendor 

 

 

  • Bride Regret:  Not reading their vendor contracts:

Brides regretted not taking the time to review their vendor contracts before signing.

HOW TO AVOID:

Before signing any contract, take the time to review. Make note of any questions that you have or portions of the contract that are unclear.  Avoid unexpected fees by reviewing your contract for any additional fees, potential fines or service charges.   

 

 

With so many decisions to make, we have created the ultimate tool for planning brides to use as their weapon to avoid mistakes that brides commonly make. We have taken the time to break down every planning step from engagement to the big day with advice on decisions that you will make. Available for a limited time, grab your copy of our 130+ page e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide today!

Getting Started Series: Sound Like A Pro – Wedding Terms You Need To Know!

Sound Like A Pro: Wedding Terms You Need To Know!

 

 

Chances are that prior to getting engaged, you may not have thought much about anything wedding related…or you may have created a Pinterest album overflowing with wedding inspiration years before getting engaged. While most people are familiar with wedding terms like wedding cake and bridesmaid, they may not be as familiar with terms such as day of coordinator or food and beverage fee.

If you are familiar with these terms, congratulations! You may already have a solid understanding of what to expect during your planning journey, which is awesome! If these terms are new to you, get ready to learn even more important wedding terms that will leave you sounding like the pros!

WHY:

Knowing important wedding terms will let vendors know that you have done your research and have realistic expectations of what goes into planning a wedding. The more you know, the more likely you are to make savvy decisions that can save you time and money!

Get started by learning popular wedding terms, phrases, and important wedding numbers that every planning bride should know to sound (and make decisions) like a pro!
kristin-la-voie

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                    Photography: Kristin La Voie

 

CEREMONY:

The segment of your wedding day where you will exchange vows and officially become one in front of family and friends!

On average, most couples spend between $500-$600 on ceremony related expenses such as ceremony decor, accessories, and the wedding license.

CEREMONY TERMS DEFINED: 

  • Alter:

Where the couple, wedding party, and officiant stand during the ceremony.

  • Processional

The order that the wedding party walks down the aisle at the start of the wedding ceremony.

  • Recessional

The order that the wedding party walks down the aisle at the end of the ceremony.

  • Vows

The couple’s commitment to one another as husband and wife. 

  • Officiant

The person that will lead the wedding ceremony to legally pronounce the couple husband and wife.  The officiant can range from a minister, civil officiant, and even ordained friend or family member.  

 

THE WEDDING PARTY: 

No, not an actual party but the cast of the day including parents, the bridal party, groomsmen and even flower girl.

WEDDING PARTY TERMS DEFINED:

  • The Maid of Honor:

Your right hand and trusted woman, typically your dearest friend that assists in organizing the bridal shower, bachelorette party and providing support to the bride through the planning journey and day of. 

  • The Best Man:

The groom’s right-hand man that shares the same role as the maid of honor. May also hold the ring for the groom at the wedding ceremony and tip vendors after the wedding reception.

  • The Matron of Honor:

Holds the same role as the maid of honor but is married.

  • Bridesmaids:

Close family and/or friends that help the bride with tasks during the planning journey such as hosting some wedding activities, offering support, standing by the bride’s side during the ceremony and keeping guests entertained during the reception.  Bridesmaids can be married or single.

  • Groomsmen

Holds the same responsibilities as the bridesmaids for the groom. May also take on the role of ushers at the ceremony. 

  • The Flower Girl/ Ring Bearer:

Youngest members of the wedding party (often range from toddlers to 10 years old). The ring bearer holds the responsibility of carrying the grooms “ring” on a pillow (always a false ring) while the flower girl tosses flowers down the aisle. 

VENDORS:

The cast with the role of executing your day. Vendors include catering, cake designer, florist, gown designer, seamstress, venue, rentals, photographer, videographer, hair, makeup, wedding planner, stationery designer, DJ, and transportation. 

VENDOR TERMS DEFINED:

  • Wedding Planner

Assists in a variety of roles such as bringing the couples theme life and assisting in creating their budget. Works with the couple throughout the journey up to the actual day of. Full-service wedding planners typically start at $2,000 up to $10,000+.

  • Day of Coordinator

Despite the name, the day of coordinators role starts typically two to three months before the actual wedding day. The day of coordinator locks in the final details with vendors and executes the day of timeline to perfection. Day of coordinators typically starts at $600 up to $2,000+.

  • Officiant

Delivers ceremony statements and officially marries the couple. Officiant may be religious or ordained to preside over the ceremony.  Officiant fees typically start at $200+.

  • Venue

The location that will host your ceremony and reception. The ceremony and reception may take place at the same location or may require traveling from one destination to the next.  Venue spaces may include a banquet hall, country club, estate, home, hotel or even outdoor location such as a beach.  Ceremony venue spaces typically start at $400+ while reception venue spaces typically start at $2,000 for just the venue space.

  • Transportation:

If the ceremony and reception do not share locations, transportation is required to shuttle the wedding party from the ceremony to reception. Transportation may also include a specialty vehicle, limo, party bus or even trolley. Transportation typically accounts for $400+ for of the average wedding budget.

  • Entertainment:

While the bride and groom are the stars of the show, entertainment often lends a personalized touch ranging from ceremony music, cocktail hour music, reception music, a band, DJ, and even photo booth. Traditional wedding entertainment typically starts at $600+.

  • The Photographer 

Our personal favorite, the photographer captures the special moments of the day for memories that last a lifetime. Photography includes the photographer and videographer.  Wedding photographers typically start at $1,200-$7,000+ while videographers start at $1,000-$5,000+. 

PHOTOGRAPHY TERMS DEFINED:

  • The Engagement Shoot

Series of captures taken by a photographer of the couple typically based around a theme or in a picturesque or sentimental location. The engagement shoot is usually scheduled after the couple’s engagement and may be used for save the date invitations and engagement announcements. Engagement shoots typically start at $200-$500+.

  • Photography Style

The style of the photographers work. The look, feel and aesthetic of photos such as posed images or journalistic images.

  • First Look

Viewing of the bride and groom before walking down the aisle. Often beneficial to mutually overcome jitters before walking down the aisle and to take pre-wedding photos.

  • Shot List

List of captures the couple would like the photographer to capture during the day of.

WEDDING RECEPTION:

The party following the wedding ceremony and cocktail hour. Also known as the longest and most costly portion of the wedding day events. The wedding reception amounts for the largest percent of wedding-related expenses as the average couple spends $13,000 on reception related expenses including the venue site, food and beverage, cake, bar and rentals.

RECEPTION TERMS DEFINED:

  • Food and Beverage Minimum

A specific minimum dollar amount that certain venues require must be spent on food and beverages to utilize the venue space.  Often found when booking with hotels.

  • Cocktail Hour

Typically at least one hour of downtime between the ceremony and reception. Often reserved for the wedding party to take pictures as guests mingle while enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

  • Late Night Menu

Post meal options at the reception, often offered after the main meal has been served and well into the dancing segment of the night. Considered a fun way to entertain guests and to keep them fueled through the night. May include fun food stations such as taco bars.

  • Signature Drink

Specialized cocktails, often created by the couple with personalized names and liquor combinations related to their wedding theme. May accompany or substitute full bar.

  • Open Bar

Time allocated that alcohol is provided by the couple at no cost to guests.

  • Liquor Classes:

Classifications of liquor served. There are typically three types of liquor served: well/house, call/name and premium/top-shelf.  Well liquors are typically the most affordable, often off-brand liquors such as Gordon’s. Call liquors are generally mid-ranged liquors such as Skyy. Premium liquors are referred to as top shelf and often the most expensive, such as Patron.

  • Cash Bar

The bar that may require guests to purchase their own drinks after an allocated open bar ends or for the full length of the reception.

  • Seating Chart

Assigned arrangement of guests tables and or seating at the reception.

  • Tasting

A sampling of potential menu options while creating the wedding menu.

  • Sweets Table

Dessert table at wedding reception typically given as a wedding favor for guest. May include sweets such as cake, popcorn, candy or even ice cream.

WEDDING ATTIRE:

Includes wedding day attire for not only the bride but the groom and wedding party members.  The average couple’s wedding attire budget starts at $2,000+ including the gown, tux, veil, accessories, hair, and makeup.

WEDDING ATTIRE TERMS DEFINED:

  • The Wedding Dress

While the bride and groom are the stars of the day, the wedding gown is a close runner up. The average wedding gown starts at $800 up to $10,000+.   The gown is often the #1 the bride is able to show her personality on her day through the selection of her gown of choice.

  • The Tux

The suit worn by the groom on the wedding day. May be rented, purchased or even custom made. The starting price of a tux starts at $130 up to $500+.

  • Bridesmaids Dresses

The dresses worn by the bridesmaids that can be matching or unique to each girl. The bridesmaid’s dresses are often an additional way for the bride to show her personalized style by the style selected for the bridesmaids. On average, most bridesmaids are responsible for their wedding attire. Bridesmaids gowns typically start at $150+.

  • Wedding Veil

Traditionally the veil is a tulle material covering the bride’s face as they walk down the aisle and lifted after being pronounced husband and wife. For modern brides, the veil can be found lifted the entire ceremony or skipped altogether. 

  • Gown Silhouettes

Style and flow of wedding gown including a-line, ball gown, mermaid, sheath and trumpet.

  • Emergency Kit

An assorted stash of items in case of an emergency on the day of ranging from pain medicine to sewing needs.

WEDDING FAVORS:

The couples gift to guests and the wedding party. The average couple spends $800+ including guest favors, wedding party gifts, out of town guest welcome kits, gifts for parents and vendor tips.

WEDDING FAVOR TERMS DEFINED:

  • Wedding Party Gifts:

Gifts to show appreciation to wedding party members (including parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls and ring bearers) for taking part in the day.

  • Guest Favors:

Gifts to show appreciation to guests for attending the day.

  • Out Of Town Welcome Kits

Gifts that are given to out of town guests for making the trip to attend the wedding day. May include a wedding day itinerary, trinkets, and sweets.

  • Vendor Tips

Tips that are given to vendors to thank for service. Tips may already be including in overall booking fees as service fees. Tips may be provided in the form of cash, physical gifts or even providing a positive review on the vendor’s website. 

WEDDING DECOR:

Decoration throughout the ceremony and reception space ranging from floral arrangements to table numbers. Wedding decor, including floral arrangements, bouquets, ceremony, and reception decor amounts for an average of $2,500+ of the wedding budget.

WEDDING DECOR TERMS DEFINED:

  • Centerpieces:

Arrangements, usually created using flowers or candles and placed at reception tables as decor. Arrangements can be mixed sizes, styles and heights or the same.

  • Arrangments:

Typical created using flowers or candles to decorate venue spaces. Can be used to decorate ceremony aisles or on tables such as the cake and guest book table.

THE WEDDING DATE: 

The big day! The day your wedding and official exchange of vows will take place.

WEDDING DATE TERMS DEFINED:

  • Average Number Of Weddings A Year:

On average, there are 2 million weddings a year in the US and 40 million worldwide. Knowing how many weddings overall keeps in perspective that you don’t have time to hesitate in locking in your top choices as you are not the only one planning your big day!

  • Average Weddings A Week 

On average, there are 44,230 weddings a week. Wedding dates fill quickly, don’t hesitate in locking in your venue and vendors!

  • Peak Season

The wedding months that are most in demand, and often command the highest rates. For most locations, off-peak season months range from January-March while peak season months are generally June-October.

  • Off Peak Season

The wedding months least in demand and often that available at discounted rates.

THE WEDDING STATIONARY SET:

Includes wedding save the dates, invitations, programs, menu cards and even table numbers. Stationary amounts to an average of $1,400+ of the average wedding budget.

WEDDING STATIONARY SET TERMS DEFINED:

  • Wedding Stationery Set

The set of paper goods including the wedding invitation, RSVP cards, escort cards, menu cards, directions, programs, save the date invitations and thank you cards. The average cost of a full invitation set starts at $400+.

  • Save The Date:

The coming soon announcement sent to the main guest list to tentatively save the wedding date.  Typically informal in style and either mailed or available electronically. Save the date invitations are typically mailed to guests 4-6 months before the wedding day and 6-8 months before if a destination wedding or hosted on a holiday.

  • Wedding Invitation:

The formal invitation set to guests invited to the wedding ceremony and reception. Includes the hosts of the wedding, couples name, location, time and if additional guests are included.

  • RSVP Card:

A separate care included within the wedding invitation that guests must return to confirm to the couple if they will be attending the wedding. RSVP cards are typically provided with a specified deadline to return to the couple, such as 3 weeks before the wedding day.

  • Wedding Invitation Inserts

Miscellaneous insert cards that include information traditionally not included on the formal invitation with special notes to guests. May include registry information, maps, directions or special requests.

  • Wedding Program:

The program provided to guests during the wedding ceremony that guides through the schedule for the ceremony. May be helpful to explain cultural segments of the ceremony and to introduce guests to the wedding party.

  • Escort Cards

Cards typically placed just outside of the wedding reception used to escort guests to their designated wedding table. May include the guest’s name and table number.

  • Place Cards

Cards used when guests have assigned seating at their reception tables. Place cards are typically placed prior to guests entering the reception and waiting at the guests designated seat to ensure they know where they will sit. May include guests name and pre-selected menu options.

  • Menu Cards

Provides guests with the reception menu. Can be individual menu cards placed at guest tables or one menu placed where visible to guests.

  • Wedding Website

Personalized web page to share wedding details, activities, wedding party details, engagement details and even how the couple met.  Often includes engagement shoot captures and important information on wedding  related topics for guests.

WEDDING GUESTS:

The guests invited to celebrate and share in your nuptials.

WEDDING GUEST TERMS DEFINED:

  • Guest Lists:

The guests invited to take part in the wedding ceremony and reception. The average wedding guest size for most weddings include 130-160 guests. 

  • Plus One

The allowance of guests to bring a friend or date to wedding day events.  Plus one invites are generally optional for single, non-married guests that are not in serious or long-term relationships. Guests that are married, in long-term relationships or engaged should have a plus one.

  • Adults Only

The preference of the couple to host a wedding day specifically for adult guests, or for guests over a specific age only.

THE WEDDING BUDGET:

A hot topic that will be determined by the finances available to bring the wedding day to life.  The amount allocated towards paying for the wedding and all wedding related expenses. The average couple spends $26,000-$35,000 (excludes the honeymoon) on wedding related expenses. This average varies based on location, guest count and formality of the day.

WEDDING BUDGET TERMS DEFINED:

  • Deposits:

The amount set by vendors to make payments towards their services.  Deposit amounts and dates will be determined by the vendor. 

  • Service Fees:

The amount included in a vendor or venues fees that often covers tips and gratuity. Can be a fixed amount or negotiable per vendor.

  • Hidden Fees:

Charges that can be in addition to the overall cost to book a vendor, or that can be determined by various factors. Hidden fees may include the cost of missing payments, running behind time booked on the wedding day or selecting out of season choices. 

  • Wedding Insurance

Protection in case of an emergency, cancellation or unforeseen circumstances.

THE ENGAGEMENT PERIOD: 

The length of time between the proposal and the wedding day. The period of time spent planning the wedding day.

ENGAGEMENT PERIOD TERMS DEFINED:

  • Average Age of Bride and Groom

Bride-27 / Groom- 29. Don’t let this lead you to put pressure on saying I Do! When you say I Do will vary for each couple.

  • Most Popular Months:

The average wedding falls in the months of June, May, September. Be aware of the most popular months as often the first to book!

WEDDING REGISTRY:

List of items, typically household items, that the couple provides guests to purchase as a gift through a registry at selected retailers. May range from requests for cash or even donating to foundations in couples name.

WEDDING REGISTRY TERMS DEFINED:

  • Gift Registry:

An array of items selected by the couple as suggested items. May include home goods, kitchenware or even cash or contributions towards the honeymoon.

 

WEDDING ACTIVITES :

The events during the planning journey including the engagement party, the bridal shower and the bachelor/bachelorette party.  The average couple spends $5,000+ on their honeymoon, often an additional expense not counted in their overall wedding related costs. This is important to know to ensure that you do not forget to budget in your honeymoon! Many wedding activities, such as the bridal shower and bachelorette party are hosted by family, friends or wedding party members.

WEDDING ACTIVITIES TERMS DEFINED:

  • Honeymoon

The time following the wedding for the couple to celebrate their new status. May range from a stay locally at a hotel or resort or an away trip.

Most Popular Places For Honeymoon 

Hawaii, Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, Virgin Islands

  • Bridal Shower

A gathering of friends and family of the bride to be to “shower” with gifts, fun activities, and love. The bridal shower can be hosted by family, friends, or the wedding party. Who hosts may vary based on budget and cultural traditions. 

  • Bachelorette / Bachelor Party

Often hosted by the maid of honor/bridesmaids and groom/groomsmen as two separate events to send the couple individually. Typically a fun evening or entire weekend filled with activities meant to be the last “party” as single individuals. 

  • Rehearsal

Typically the day before the wedding designated as a time set aside to practice the ceremony processional, recessional and standing arrangements. Often at the ceremony venue site and includes the wedding party, planner, officiant and ceremony entertainment.

  • Rehearsal Dinner

Often follows the ceremony rehearsal, the couple hosts a dinner as a personal, intimate thanks for wedding attendants, close family and out of town guests.

WEDDING TIMELINE: 

The order of tasks to guide the couple through the wedding day process and to-do tasks.

WEDDING TIMELINE TERMS DEFINED:

  • Day Of Timeline

Schedule for the day of when vendors will arrive, set up, take down and perform events of the day as well as the time of all wedding day events from getting ready to cleaning up.

THE WEDDING STYLE:

Personalized touches and details that tie personal ideas and looks to the wedding.

  • Popular Wedding Styles

The most popular wedding styles are romantic, simplistic, fun with personalized touches, elegant and traditional. Formal, traditional weddings are also increasingly less popular than the trend of modern, personalized and unique wedding themes. This is important to know to consider if your vendors are familiar with your preferred wedding vision and style to execute!

  • Popular Colors

The most popular wedding colors are blue, purple, pink, and warm or vibrant tones. This is important to know as incorporating popular colors may result in your day resembling many other weddings you’ve seen without standing out. Consider hue variations to personalize!

 

THE ENGAGEMENT RING:  

The ring worn to signify the person is engaged and to be married. The average wedding ring amounts for $6,000+ of the budget.

ENGAGEMENT RING TERMS DEFINED:

  • Engagement Ring Cuts

Shape of the engagement ring stone.

  • Most Popular Ring Styles 

Round, Halo, Solitaire

  • 4CS

Cut, clarity, carat and color which makes engagement ring diamond valuable.

  • Clarity

Degree of an engagement rings flawlessness (including blemishes or scratches  invisible to the human eye)

  • Color

Color scale from white to yellow of an engagement ring. Colorless are most expensive with yellow most affordable.

  • Carat

Diamonds weight divided by 100 points with one being the weight of a paper clip.  Cut, clarity and color most affect the cost of carats of the same size.

  • Cuts Of Rings

Round, princess, oval, marquise, emerald, cushion, asscher, radiant, pear and rose.

  • Ring Setting / Mounts

Holds ring in place with a band including prongs (the more prongs the more secure the diamond), bezels, cluster, tension, illusion, channel, bar, pave.

  • Halo Cut 

Setting that encircles the center gemstone to draw attention to the center ring stone.

 

 

If you’ve made it through this list, you should feel much more confident in how to sound like a wedding pro! Now that you know essential terms to sound like a pro, it’s time to take it a step further by learning how to plan like a pro! If you thought this guide was easy to understand, just wait until you take on our e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide, for an insanely easy way to quickly learn the tips and secrets used by the pros! Save big and cut planning stress as you walk through everything you need to know to plan with ease! Click the graphic below to grab your copy today!

 

Getting Started Series: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide!

We are so excited to launch our first e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide

When it comes to taking on wedding to do tasks, we hear “I’m so overwhelmed with so many to do tasks” and  “I don’t know where to even begin” all of the time from planning brides and understand how incredibly stressful and overwhelming planning a wedding can be.

On average, planning a wedding requires a minimum of 500 hours to take on the hundreds of decisions from creating the guest list, selecting vendors, determining the budget, saying yes to the dress, selecting wedding decor and so much more.

Finding assistance in planning can be stressful in itself but is crucial to stay on budget, on schedule, to minimize stress and to know what steps to follow as you plan from engaged to the big day.  Most wedding timeline guides aimed to provide a checklist of steps to fulfill while planning are simply one-page bullet points filled with dozens of to do tasks that do not actually walk through each step of the process.   Wedding planning books often take on detailed topics within a single chapter that simply doesn’t spend the necessary time to truly detail how to take on tough topics.  For the most comprehensive assistance, brides find that hiring a full-service wedding planner on average starts at $2,000 and a simple consultation for assistance averages at $40-$60 an hour, which may be out of budget.   

We are solving this common and stressful problem through our first e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide, to help remove the stress often accompanied with wedding planning so that you can spend more time enjoying your journey! 

Our in-depth 130 page book walks you through each planning task starting with the engagement to the actual wedding day so that you feel like you are sitting down with a wedding planner but for a fraction of the price! As your own personal wedding planners, we walk through over 100 essential steps and expert tips  you must know for every little step along the way. We explain when tasks should get crossed off the calendar, expensive mistakes to avoid, what to consider for each decision, secrets to save, stay organized and cross off tasks like a pro! 

Jump in where you are in the process or start from the beginning for wedding planning that makes sense!  We even share how to easily adjust to meet your planning length so whether you are planning for 6 months or 24 months, our guide works for you!

Click the link below to grab a copy while in stock!

The #1 Tip Every Wedding Vendor Wants Brides To Know!

Photography: Best Photography

While every vendor will vary on wedding related advice they would share with planning brides, the #1 tip that every vendor wishes that brides knew is:

NEVER wait to book your vendors!

We hear brides express all the time that they are approaching their big day and still have not secured all of the vendors on their list. While there are vendors that take priority, such as your venue space, each and every vendor should be booked months before the big day.

WHY: 

Most vendors calendars are filled months in advance. For in demand vendors, calendars may be filled a year or more in advance.

If your wedding will be held during a peak season month, such as July, chances are your vendors calendars are completely booked.   The closer you wait until the big day to book your vendors, the more you risk limitations in available vendors for your preferred wedding dates.

Vendors never like to turn away brides, especially brides that would love to work with them. Avoid by following our guide for when to book your vendors during a 6 month or 12 month engagement length.

Who You Should Never Invite To Your Engagement Party

 

Photography: Best Photography

 

Your engagement party is your first official wedding activity and opportunity to celebrate the news of your engagement. While not as stressful to plan as the wedding, your engagement party will require similar steps as planning the wedding, such as creating a guest list. 

When it comes to inviting guests to your engagement party, follow this simple rule of thumb:

Only guests that will receive a wedding invitation should receive an invitation to your engagement party.

WHY:

Traditionally, all guests invited to the engagement party are also invited to the actual wedding. This means that guests that received an invitation to the engagement party would assume they are also guaranteed invites to your actual wedding. 

How To Avoid:

If you are not ready to lock in wedding guests, keep your engagement party small. Only invite guests that you are certain would make the cut, such as immediate family including parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and your nearest and dearest friends. 

Use These Easy Formulas To Manage Your Wedding Guest List Like A Pro!

Photography: Colin Cowie 

While having guests take part in your day is an honor, deciding who to invite can be an absolute pain! The good news is that there is a simple method to work your guest list like a pro! Check out the following formulas to apply to your guest list:

If The Couple Is Funding Their Wedding:

It is up to you how and if you will distribute guests to parents if you are 100% funding your wedding expenses. If you plan to distribute guests to parents, consider a 75/25 formula where 75% of the guest list is reserved for the couple and 25% is given to to parents.  Each set of parents will then split the 25% down the middle.  

If One Set Of Parents Are Funding The Wedding:

If one set of parents will fully fund the day, it is up to them how they will distribute wedding guests.  They may exercise the the 75/25 formula where 75% of the guest list is reserved for the parents fully funding the wedding and the remaining 25% is split between the couple and other set of parents.

The parents fully funding may also use a more flexible percentage, such as splitting the guests list 50/50 where 50% goes to the parents funding the day and the remaining 50% is split between the couple and other set of parents. 

Parents fully funding can also go with the traditional split formula, which is allowing the couple to keep 50% of the guest list and the remaining 50% is split between each set of parents.

If Both Sets Of Parents Are Funding The Wedding: 

If both sets of parents are funding the wedding, it will also be up to them how they intend to distribute the wedding guest list. They may decide to use the 75/25 formula where 75% of the guest list is split evenly between both sets of parents and the remaining 25% is given to the couple.

They may also use a more generous formula by sticking with tradition and splitting the guests list 50/50 where 50% is split evenly by both sets of parents and the remaining 50% is given to the couple.

If One Set Of Parents And The Couple Are Funding The Wedding:

If one set of parents and the couple are funding the wedding, it is their choice how and if they will extend invites to the set of parents that are not contributing. We recommend that you consider extending guests as the set of parents that is not financially contributing simply may not have the resources to do so, or may still contribute in ways that are not financial. 

Consider a formula such as 80/20, where 80% is split between the parents funding the wedding and couple with the remaining 20% extended to the parents that are not financially contributing. 

If Both Sets Of Parents And The Couple Are Funding The Wedding:

If both sets of parents are contributing as well as the couple, consider the traditional formula of splitting the guests list 50/50. This allows 50% of the guest list to the couple and the remaining 50% is split evenly between both sets of parents. 

If There Are Special Circumstances:

Divorced Parents:

For divorced parents, follow the 50/50 formula where the bride and groom take 50% and both sets of parents take 50%. From there, split the 25% down the middle where divorced parents receive an equal share.  For example, if the grooms parents are divorced, give each of the grooms parent 12% from the 25% given to the grooms parents. 

Parents Exceeded Their Allocated Percent:

If parents exceed their allocated percent, consider asking if they can chip in to cover additional guests. You can also add  additional guests once RSVP requests are received by adding additional guest in place of guests that have declined.  

Other Family Contribute:

If other family members are contributing,  consider allowing a specific number to each contributor, such as 1-2 guests each.  If allowing guests would put you over your guest count, let them know that you would like to follow up with them once guest RSVP responses come back to ensure that you replace declines opposed to adding to your guest count.

2 Benefits Of Wedding Planning Immediately After You Get Engaged!

Photography: London Light Photography

“When should I start wedding planning?” 

We get asked this question all the time and stand by the answer that it is NEVER too soon to start planning once you get engaged. We recently shared why you should avoid procrastinating for the big day. Now it’s time to take on the advantages of getting a head start in planning.

Check out 2 huge benefits below:

 To Save Money: 

It’s never too soon to start saving money towards wedding related expenses. Many of our followers expressed that they began saving money for their wedding prior to their engagement because they knew that it was coming.  On average, expect to set aside at least 20% of your income towards wedding expenses.

A huge benefit of saving money for your wedding immediately after your engagement is that you will have money ready for vendor deposits that are required to book. Remember that wedding-related expenses will be required throughout your journey, not at the end.  The sooner you start saving, the more you have set aside for deposits to book vendors. Resources will be required at the start of your journey to book key vendors, such as your venue space and photographer. Start saving immediately after your engagement to ensure you have money available to secure your vendors with deposits.  

For Vendor Availability:

It’s not uncommon for top vendors calendars to have dates on the books months, even a year or more in advance.  Some vendors also only take a specific number of bookings a year. For instance, your dream photographer may only take 7 weddings a year. Begin reaching out to vendors immediately after you get engaged to get a feel for available calendar dates for potential vendors.

How To Explain To Someone They Are Not Invited To Your Wedding or In Your Wedding Party

Photography: Ivash Studio

Chances are once you were engaged you expected that wedding planning would include tough decisions such as selecting the perfect venue, gown and even best wedding date. You may not have been prepared for other challenging tasks, such as having to explain to someone they will not be invited to your wedding or taking part of your wedding party.

If faced with the tough task of having to express you cannot extend an invitation to your wedding or have in your wedding party, consider using these responses to explain:

If Unable To Extend A Wedding Invitation:

We are so honored that you would like to take part in our day and wish that we can extend an invite to everyone. Unfortunately we will be unable to extend an invitation due to (select the best option: budget limitations, exceeding our guest list, venue space capacity). We hope that you understand that not being able to invite everyone we would love to have has been incredibly challenging for us and that it’s nothing personal.

If Unable To Invite As A Wedding Party Member:

“It was a very challenging decision for us to select members for our wedding party because we have so many that we would love to stand by our side on our wedding day. We realized there were other roles that meant just as much to us that we needed special people in our lives to fill. We would be honored if you were part of our day by (select the best option: welcoming guests, serving as a host or usher, providing a special reading, giving a toast, being there while I am getting ready, accompanying me as I cake/menu taste or shop for the gown)

How To Cut Wedding Budget Not Style

 
 
 
Photography: Wayne and Angela
 
Having your dream day on a budget is possible! Check out our top 5 ways to cut your wedding budget, not style!
 
Invest Where It Matters Most:
When  it comes to planning your wedding, there are hundreds of details to consider, all of which come at a cost. From your wedding invitations to guest favors, the more details that you include in your wedding, the more the overall cost of the day.  
We recommend that you spend time considering what matters most. Imagine the details that you would find a way to include at any expense. For instance, you may realize that you absolutely must walk down the aisle in your dream gown, but are not as committed to the venue space to host your day. Focus on investing on details that mean the most while seeking ways to save on areas that are not as meaningful to you. Check out our past post on selecting your top wedding must haves to get started!
 
Shop Around:

Before investing, make sure that you are have shopped around and compared prices to ensure you get the best deal. Whether it’s comparing the average cost of venue spaces, vendors, or even the gown, always make sure to compare prices before you invest. Be sure to check what’s included as well. For instance, you may find that your dream gown is offered for the same rate at one salon with alterations included, while another salon would require a separate fee for alterations. 

Seek Coupons And Discounts: 

Stay on the look out for potential coupons and deals before investing.  Always:

  • Sign up for newsletters to receive special insider deals. Check vendor and brand websites for the option to subscribe.
  • Visit vendors and brands official websites for discounts, coupon codes and offers.
  • Follow brands and vendors on social media for announcements on deals or special saving opportunities.
  • Attend wedding shows and wedding expos as many vendors and venues offer packages at special rates.
  • Enter contests as many vendors and even wedding based social media accounts host opportunities to win details ranging from photography packages, wedding bands and even honeymoons!

Cut Based On Time Used On The Wedding Day:

When it comes to your wedding day details, consider investing where guests will spend the most time. Your guests will spend a majority of your wedding day at the reception venue space, while they will only spend 30 minutes to 1 hour at your ceremony venue space. Consider keeping details to a minimum at your ceremony venue space, while investing in your reception space. At the reception venue, guests will spend most of their time at the reception tables and dance floor.  Keep the decor at guestbook tables and place card tables to a minimum as guests will only see them for a short time.

Cut What Will Not Be Missed:

Guests will not notice if your linens are upgraded from satin to silk, but they certainly will notice if there are minimal food options available during dinner. Cut in areas that guests will not miss while investing in areas that may affect the guest experience. Consider if you were a guest at your wedding and details that would stand out to you. While there will be details that are “nice to have”, hold off on investing until you have crossed off “must have” details. For instance, it would be “nice to have” a luxury exit vehicle, but your wedding party “must have” transportation from the ceremony to your reception venue space.